(on Abuse of tobacco by John Martin Honigberger - Physician to Maharaja Runjeet Singh in "Thirty Five Years in the East published in 1852.)
Though at the hazard of your condemnation;
For, there are thousands now, as heretofore,
who will not thank me for my observations;
I also know, that you may quote from lore
Of ancient days, of some consideration
To Show the error of the rule I want
To give, regarding the Tobacco plant.
Poisons(as arsenic,, opium) may, from use,
Lose much of their intrinsic, mortal power;
Yet they are poisons still: 'tis the abuse
Of the pernicious weed(on which i shower
The censures of great men - whether as juice,
or leaf or dust)that at this hour,
Many conceive it innocent: but, know
It is to health a deleterious foe.
Urban the Eighth, we read in history`s page,
Passed on snuff-takers excommunication.
The Czar of Russia, in a former age,
Punished the crime of this abomination
By cutting off the nose. The still more sage
Senate of Berne, on due deliberation,
Forbade the Swiss to smoke tobacco, as a crime
Great as was theft or murder in the code divine.
In Canton Valois, I have read or heard,
Exists a prohibition of its use in Youth;
A man must wait until he gets a beard
Before he smokes. And 'tis is a well known truth
That James the First, of England ("the absurd")
Tried force, to put Tobacco down; forsooth,
A silly trick, in that pedantic king;
As Englishmen, by force, will not do anything.
Sultan Amurad the Fourth, to death condemned
All smokers of Tobacco. And that great man
Baba Nanuk, whose conduct I commend,
By a religious obligation, formed a plan
To keep it from the Sikhs; he did forefend
That poisonous weed, and through the nation ran
His interdiction; e'en as a remedy for pain,
All efforts to administer the weed, prove wain.
The so-called barbarous Sikh, preserves his race
Against the noxious plant; while boasting Europe tries
To increase its filthy use; Governments have the face.
In spite of health, to form monopolies
Of this most baneful weed--What a disgrace!
E'en England`s Rulers common-sense defies,
Bartering(by Act of Parliament) the health
Of a whole people, for a little wealth.